State Announces Plan to Vaccinate Congregate-care Facilities, Updates to Phase 2

BOSTON — This week, the Baker-Polito administration outlined plans to start vaccines for congregate-care settings, the next priority group within phase 1 of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 vaccine-distribution plan.

The Command Center also made updates to the first priority group in phase 2 of the distribution plan to include residents and staff of low-income and affordable senior housing.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 18, vaccinations will begin at residential congregate-care and shelter programs and correctional facilities within phase 1 of the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 distribution plan. This will include more than 94,000 eligible individuals, both residents and staff, across the Commonwealth.

This wave of vaccinations includes residential congregate-care programs, including group homes, residential treatment programs, community-based acute residential treatment programs, clinical stabilization service programs, emergency shelter programs (including homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and veterans’ shelters), and approved private special-education schools that offer residential services. Correctional facilities will also begin vaccinations for staff and inmates.

This week, congregate-care vaccinations began at some facilities that enrolled in the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program with CVS and Walgreens.

Congregate-care facilities can vaccinate their residents, clients, and staff over age 16 through one of three vaccination options:

• Organizations that have the capability to directly receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines can request them from the Department of Public Health if they meet certain requirements. Self-administering organizations must plan to vaccinate at least 200 individuals. However, the scale can be achieved by partnering with other organizations.

• Programs with existing pharmacy partnerships can leverage these partnerships to administer COVID-19 vaccines. This includes programs that work with pharmacies to administer the regular flu-vaccine clinics, and/or other existing relationships with local hospitals, healthcare practices, community health centers, university health centers, or VNAs.

• Mass vaccination sites can also be utilized by congregate-care settings. This week, the Commonwealth announced the opening of the first mass-vaccination site at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

Vaccination of staff and inmates of correctional facilities will also begin next week. For the Department of Correction (DOC), vaccinations are expected to last for three weeks to inoculate all residents and staff. The total population of DOC inmates and civilly committed people is about 6,500, and the total number of staff is about 4,500, for a total of about 11,000.

Inmates will receive their vaccines from DOC’s medical provider, Wellpath, in the facilities. DOC is also working to establish regional vaccine sites for staff, who will receive their vaccines from Armstrong and Brewster Ambulance staff.

Houses of correction run by sheriffs will follow a similar procedure, with medical staff providing vaccines.